A logging railroad was built in 1885 to move the massive redwood logs to the Mendocino County, California, coast sawmills.
The 40 mile trip from Fort Bragg to Willits crosses the Pudding River and creeks with over 30 bridges and trestles.
Some of the original timbers buckled in one of the two tunnels and collapsed this spring. Over 200 tons of debris had to be cleared from the blocked portion of the 1,112 foot long tunnel.
Because the redwoods absorb massive amounts of water into the six foot base of their trunks, the loggers left this very heavy part of the tree standing. A notch was chopped into the trunk and a plank inserted above this six foot level. Then the loggers chopped down the trees, while perched on this plank. The six foot stumps are still solidly standing, with some regrowth showing after almost a hundred years.
The train ride would be boring, if it wasn’t for the train songs. Even the dog had a smile on his face.
Northspur is the half way point and lunch was served under the redwoods, while the engine was switched to the front for the return trip.
The singer’s handmade flute entertained us with hauntingly beautiful music, that echoed through the trees.
Railroad workers were able to buy land for one dollar an acre. Many families still live in, or vacation in, their grandparents cottages.
The only access to these homes is still by train. The engineer will drop off groceries and mail to these hardy folks, as they did in the 1800’s.
“You can smell ’em before you can see ’em” was the comment that gave the Skunk Train it’s nickname. The combined fumes from the gas engines and the coal stoves that kept passengers warm, stunk like a skunk.
The yellow engine is an example of the gasoline powered locomotive that caused the “aroma.”
More about the skunk train can be found at this website: http://www.mendorailhistory.org
I’ve always loved the majesty of trees. My favorite is the Blue Spruce, what’s your favorite?
Enjoy other links to photos and stories at Travel Photo Discovery , the Travel Photo Monday series.